After much cavorting around the house, Rapunzel and Sir John (aka Flynn Rider) were finally wed in the living room on a wintery day in 2012. Perhaps you will be bored by my many photos, but I was so delighted by their union (and by the adorable wedding planners) that I just have to fill up my blog with snapshots today.

The Guests Take their Seats…

…and talk amongst themselves.

The Bride and her Attendants Prepare in the Dressing Quarters

(At first, Lia was withholding the bouquet. We asked why? She thought “the bride receives the bouquet after the wedding… if she does a good job.” Viv and I explained that, unlike a ballet performance, Rapunzel should carry the bouquet down the aisle with her. The flowers would simply be a beautiful adornment… not a reward, ahem. She was shocked by her misconception and quickly decided she’d rather “do it the way it’s usually done.” Rapunzel received her bouquet gratefully.)

Cue the wedding music!

(Selections from the Suzuki 4 Cassette Tape: some peppy, some slow.)

The wedding party enters.

Sir John (aka Flynn Rider) eagerly awaits his bride…

Everyone oos and ahs at the “Flower Girl Mouse”. And then…

Father Bunny gives away his daughter… his dear Rapunzel, who did not inherit his long ears or long feet, but did turn out with long hair. Sir John is delighted.

You may kiss the bride…

…and carry her down the aisle. (An unconventional pair!)

The bride and groom at the Reception.

Just Married!

Posted in Early Elementary Education, Homeschooling, Laugh About, Motherhood, Preschool | 9 Comments

As you know, we have 17 chickens. They lay eggs every day. Their entire lives revolve around laying those eggs: they eat, sleep, and socialize so that they can lay eggs.

For the most part, they lay eggs in nesting boxes. We never had to teach or train them to do this. They just knew: “There is a plastic bucket attached to the wall. I will lay an egg in it.” Brilliance. Every once in a while, we’ll find an egg in the middle of the stall or under the roost, as if they just couldn’t hold that egg in one moment longer. It’s as if they were just going about their day, when it plopped out – the wrong time, and the wrong place – but an egg, nonetheless. They were created to produce eggs, and they do it!

Anyway, this got me thinking about how each of us is made to produce something unique. (My deepest apologies that I can’t come up with something more elevated than egg-laying, but it’s what I’ve got. And you’ll get the point as long as you work with me here.) “The Chicken Principle” is the thing we do so naturally that we almost can’t help but do it. It’s the thing that just plops out when we’re going about our daily tasks. It might be design, counsel, music, dreams, organization, html, or any other thing.   For me, it’s teaching. It just runs in my blood. I teach here, I teach there, I teach everywhere. I eat, sleep, and socialize so that I can teach. That’s why I homeschool, write, lead Bible studies, and say “yes” to speaking opportunities… because I love to teach. Of course, like those eggs, there is a proper time and place to do the deed, but it’s so natural to my personality that if I talk to you for more than 10 minutes, chances are that I’m going to start teaching, even if I didn’t mean to. Of course, teaching is still hard work for me (just like laying an egg is for a chicken, I imagine), but it’s natural to me and it fills me with vim and vigor. I love it.

Lately, I’ve noticed that most people have shut down their Chicken Principle because they don’t realize how great it is. Whatever-it-is that you produce is there for a reason. Don’t deny its productivity just because it comes naturally. That’s the whole point! It comes naturally so that you will do it! And learn how to do it well, and often. 

What’s your Chicken Principle?

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” Psalm 90:17

Posted in Chickens, Homeschooling, Marriage, Motherhood | 12 Comments

Candy Experiments: SWEET!

(Blowing bubbles into the water to see that air floats! Don’t worry – they weren’t drinking it!)

We had a blast doing candy experiments with leftover candy. I snagged some clearance bags of warheads, nerds, crunch bars, skittles, m&m’s… and we got to work! I found all of the ideas at Candy Experiments and typed out my own lab sheets. The girls were introduced to the words, “hypothesis,” “results,” and “control”, as well as the concept of conducting orderly experiments with only one variable.

M&M Chromotography

Sink or Float

Does my candy have acid in it?

For the Sink/Float and the Acid experiments, I gave each student four tape-donuts. She taped the wrapper to the paper and recorded her results with a pencil.

The sweetest news? I compiled the experiments and the lab sheets into a pdf just for YOU! Enjoy!


Posted in Early Elementary Education, Homeschooling, Kindergarten | 3 Comments

The Most Important Thing

“Jesus is not coming for a church that’s gritting her teeth, struggling to stay free from sin, secretly wishing she could indulge in a little immorality No, Jesus is coming for a church utterly devoted to Him – one that is free on the inside. The greatest motivation for obedience comes as we encounter more revelation of who Jesus is.” – Passion for Jesus: Cultivating Extravagant Love for God by Mike Bickle

So let us “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God…” -from Hebrews 12

What is weighing you down so heavily that you cannot spend time in God’s presence today? What is entangling your time and your affection? Get rid of it and run to Jesus.

Posted in Blogging, Healthy Living, Homeschooling, Marriage, Motherhood | 3 Comments

The Learning Parent keeps running deals on their Character Concept material. I just received an email announcing a free set of character flash cards with the purchase of the book, Crossroads of Character. We’ve been loving this curriculum. If you’re unsure about purchasing the entire curriculum, this book and the flash cards are a great place to start! You can think of your own accompanying Bible stories and activities. (To receive updates from The Learning Parent, sign up to receive their emails.)

Each week, I post the flash card on our white board and we read the stories from the Character Concepts curriculum. These are intended for pre-school children, but Vivienne has been loving them, too! (Oh, Oh! Check out my re-purposed graham cracker box. I snipped off the top, attached a magnetic clip, and wah-lah! Our cards are right where we need them.)

Posted in Character Training, Early Elementary Education, Homeschooling | 1 Comment

First Day Flop

I had great plans for our first day of school etched in my notebook. It was going to be a day of introductions to the vigorous first grade curriculum that I compiled. And, in my wildest dreams, it was going to flow right into Day 2, when we would get right down to work for the next 180 days.

As the day progressed, I could tell that my plans were going by the way-side. We stayed at the fair longer than I had anticipated, the baby needed to be nursed (over and over again), I had to go to the grocery store, and time just wasn’t on my side. I was feeling defeated. I was feeling like this was a First Day Flop. And then, I turned around and was pleasantly surprised at the way my plans were blown out of the water.

We enjoyed our annual “First Day of School Fieldtrip” by cheering on our favorite farmer at The Grange Fair Swine Competition.

Then, Vivienne went up in the ferris wheel, and I watched her from below. Two little pony-tails, bobbing way above the earth; she was higher than she’d ever been before, looking over tree tops and watching people mill about below. A book could never have taught her about that thrill, or about that perspective.

My sister Erin was visiting for the week, and, while I scurried around the grocery store, she took Viv under her wing.

First, they made paper chains and paper lanterns to decorate the school room.

Then they went out in the canoe and paddled around our pond, looking for fresh water wonders. We have a bucket full of snails and such to meet.

Then, they sat on the swing and Vivienne read aloud the first chapter in the beloved “B is for Betsy”.

Erin helped to create a better first day of school than I could ever dream up. In doing so, she reminded me how beautiful homeschooling can be.

Posted in First Grade, Homeschooling | 3 Comments